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  1. #1
    HappyTrails is offline Junior Member
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    Unhappy Minimum payment due for medical bills

    What is the name of your state? Michigan

    Does anyone know what you legally have to pay each month on a medical bill to avoid collection? I have an outstanding bill that I have made payments of $20 a month on, until recently when some hard times came about and I only made payments of $1 a month. Can they still come after me for this? I have received letters in the mail from the medical practice threatening collection and discharge from the practice. Any info on this would be great. Thanks!
  2. #2
    ablessin is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by HappyTrails
    What is the name of your state? Michigan

    Does anyone know what you legally have to pay each month on a medical bill to avoid collection? I have an outstanding bill that I have made payments of $20 a month on, until recently when some hard times came about and I only made payments of $1 a month. Can they still come after me for this? I have received letters in the mail from the medical practice threatening collection and discharge from the practice. Any info on this would be great. Thanks!


    You need to call them and arrange a budget plan...... Until you do that, tehy can do whatever they want to collect from you.
    Sending $1 is hardly worth anyone's time. Typically, a budget plan will be a monthly percentage of what you owe...... say you owe $500 - they might say you can pay either 5% ($25) a month, OR they might break the $500 up into 10 or 12 equal installments.
  3. #3
    Happy Trails is offline Senior Member
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    Just for the record.

    This poster is not me. I have a space between Happy and Trails.

    I agree with ablessin, they are not happy with the payment. You need to communicate with them.
  4. #4
    ablessin is offline Member
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    Yeah, that is great, blow it off. Since you can't afford to pay, who cares if you don't? You received legitimate medical services, and I am sure the physician isn't going to miss your measly payment

    That is just super.
    I just want you to know something, there ARE laws and rules that protect providers AS WELL AS the patient.

    In NYS, ANY patient who continuously neglects to pay their HMO copay/deductible/etc, the provider CAN call the insurer and the insurer CAN and WILL DROP the member from coverage..... Just like the provider has a contract with the carrier, SO DOES THE PATIENT!!!!!!!! It is the patient's responsibility to pay the provider their portion of the bill.

    I STRONGLY urge you to contact the billing service of the physician, and/or write a letter outlining your situation and concern.
    By not paying, you are at risk of losing your insurance, and also the provider can decline services to you the next time you call.
  5. #5
    HappyTrails is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for all of your input. I have contacted the doctor's office and explained to them my situation. She said that my payments would not cut it and that she would have to talk to the doctors about it. I am no longer a patient there and no longer have that same insurance (thank goodness, because it sucked!). Frankly, I am going to keep sending what I can and if they cannot accept that, then too bad, at least I am trying to pay it. The doctor messed up on me anyways...she shouldn't be complaining! Thanks again!
  6. #6
    ENASNI is offline Senior Member
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    Just Fyi

    It costs the provider to send out a bill. If it costs .45 a statement, and you send in 1.00 then you spend money on a stamp, all this bother is worth, hmmm... you do the math.

    Of course the poster is going to say the doctor messed up now. hmmm
  7. #7
    HappyTrails is offline Junior Member
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    When she stitched me up one of the veins retracted because she didn't use enough stitches and I ended up getting a huge hematoma the size of a grapefruit. I couldn't walk for over 2 weeks!!! They acted like it was no problem....yeah right. Something like that does not happen all the time! They even brought other doctors in to look at it because it just does not happen.
  8. #8
    HappyTrails is offline Junior Member
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    An error that she was late for her daughter's induction to the National Honor Society and that my surgery happened to fall then. It is just frustrating.
  9. #9
    HappyTrails is offline Junior Member
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    I didn't know what else to do. She did perform surgery and everything was fine up to that point. That statute of limitations is 7 years on that sort of thing, but why bother. I would probably not get anything but a lot of hassle out of it. The court system is all but equal and fair. I just don't understand why they are bothering me over the money (less than $200). I know they want their money (I would too) but they have received over 90% of it and I am going through tough times...give me a break!
  10. #10
    ablessin is offline Member
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    t depends on what plan he is with. Insurance companies don't usually cancel insurance coverage unless you don't pay THEIR premiums. It has to state that they can in the contract. Insurance is tightly regulated, and cannot be arbitrarily cancelled. And if I read correctly, this person has been in touch with the physician outlining his situation and conerns, and the physician basically rejected them.


    Actually, YES the carrier can cancel coverage if the patient does not pay their portion of medical expenses.
    I work in the health care field, in insurance, have all my working career.... I have called Blue Cross/Blue Shield specifically with this question, and they advised me that any physician can call them and they will take over matters and if they find the insured is not keeping up their end of the bargain, they will terminate coverage.
  11. #11
    HappyTrails is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ablessin
    t depends on what plan he is with. Insurance companies don't usually cancel insurance coverage unless you don't pay THEIR premiums. It has to state that they can in the contract. Insurance is tightly regulated, and cannot be arbitrarily cancelled. And if I read correctly, this person has been in touch with the physician outlining his situation and conerns, and the physician basically rejected them.


    Actually, YES the carrier can cancel coverage if the patient does not pay their portion of medical expenses.
    I work in the health care field, in insurance, have all my working career.... I have called Blue Cross/Blue Shield specifically with this question, and they advised me that any physician can call them and they will take over matters and if they find the insured is not keeping up their end of the bargain, they will terminate coverage.
    I no longer have the same insurance. I am now with a different company. I have been making regular payments (although probably not as much as the doctor's office wants) and don't see why they are threatening me with collection. They are getting their money, slowly, but surely.
  12. #12
    HappyTrails is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by FWIW
    I am not sure what you mean by "keeping up with their end of the bargain" ... this can mean almost anything.

    However, if you are telling me that Blue Cross will cancel your coverage because you have a billing dispute with your doctor and/or you cannot afford to pay an outstanding balance on an expensive medical bill, then all I can say is that I don't believe it ... and leave it at that.

    I know many people who have catastrophic coverage medical plans with high deducibles that are up to their ears in medical bills which they can't pay (and even discharge them in bankruptcy), and not one of them has ever had their policies cancelled as long as they paid BCBS when their premiums were due. Dare I say that a not-small percentage of catastrophic coverage planholders fall into this category (as those who could afford better coverage usually buy it).

    I think BCBS is pulling your leg, and I doubt they could do this too often without setting off a firestorm of lawsuits claming discrimination (against the poor, minorities, etc ... you know the drill), intimidation, coercion, or any number of other things.

    It's not something I would advice many people to worry about, but they are free to take your advice of course.
    I have to agree with you on this. It is hard to believe that making regular payments (no matter how small) and communicating with the physician's office would make the insurance company discharge your from their coverage, especially over a matter of less than $200.
  13. #13
    ablessin is offline Member
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    well, you're paying - so kudos to you.

    I know how difficult keeping up with bills can be. I don't know if you can be turned to collections if you're sending payment in.

    You've called the office, they rejected your payment terms, and that is too bad. Our office will rarely reject a patient - if they say I can send $5 a month, usually we say OK..... but if they don't send it in, well - that is another case and I am sure you know where it will go !!!

    What I was saying previously was don't just stop paying. That was bad advice....because it will show up on your credit report. And while medical bills sometimes are looked at differently, I can tell you this : we have patients in collections who have been denied a car, a house, etc because the medical bill was on their credit - it's still an adverse mark.
    The bank thinks "if Johnny can't pay state memorial hospital $100, is he going to repay us the loan for the ________".....
    Look at it that way. Eventually it will be paid for - you said it's $200 - maybe if you get a tax refund next winter you can eliminate tha debt with the tax return.
    It might be in your interest to get a flexible spending account if offered by your employer. It's a pretax medical "account" for copays. etc.
    There is also an FSA for daycare costs.

    Good luck
  14. #14
    Happy Trails is offline Senior Member
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    This is freaky for me.

    Just for the record, this is not me. I have a space in my name.

    HappyTrails, since it is such a small amount, hopefully they will work it out with you.

    Signed, Happy Trails.
  15. #15
    HappyTrails is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ablessin
    well, you're paying - so kudos to you.

    I know how difficult keeping up with bills can be. I don't know if you can be turned to collections if you're sending payment in.

    You've called the office, they rejected your payment terms, and that is too bad. Our office will rarely reject a patient - if they say I can send $5 a month, usually we say OK..... but if they don't send it in, well - that is another case and I am sure you know where it will go !!!

    What I was saying previously was don't just stop paying. That was bad advice....because it will show up on your credit report. And while medical bills sometimes are looked at differently, I can tell you this : we have patients in collections who have been denied a car, a house, etc because the medical bill was on their credit - it's still an adverse mark.
    The bank thinks "if Johnny can't pay state memorial hospital $100, is he going to repay us the loan for the ________".....
    Look at it that way. Eventually it will be paid for - you said it's $200 - maybe if you get a tax refund next winter you can eliminate tha debt with the tax return.
    It might be in your interest to get a flexible spending account if offered by your employer. It's a pretax medical "account" for copays. etc.
    There is also an FSA for daycare costs.

    Good luck
    Thank you very much for the advice. I will continue to pay what I can pay and they just have to accept it and be happy!

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